Teen in care groomed via dating app, abused and impregnated
A teenage girl living in a residential care facilities was abused and impregnated by a man she met on a teenage dating app.
The man who abused her, 35-year-old Matthew James McIntyre, has been jailed for almost two years but questions remain about how a 13-year-old in state care was able to communicate with and meet the man.
The offending came to light in January 2020 when a youth care worker noticed uncharacteristic behaviour from the teenager.
The worker checked the young girl's phone and found "a large number of disturbing text messages" from McIntyre.
Department for Child Protection deputy chief executive Fiona Ward said she could not comment on any specific child or young person in care but that the safety and wellbeing of children was their top priority.
McIntyre met the girl through Mylol, a teenage dating app, which he claimed to have been using to communicate with his partner, despite living in the same house as her.
He said the girl approached him through the app and he thought she was 17 or 18.
The court heard that by the time the two were texting McIntyre must have known her age as she made reference to not wanting to go to high school and having to buy a school uniform.
Judge Julie McIntyre said that it was likely that the man was also aware that his young victim was in state care.
Despite that knowledge, he still picked her up just after midday on January 9 and dropped her back to the facility later in the day.
The contents of the text message made it clear that he had unprotected sexual intercourse with the victim.
The pair continued to communicate via text, though the teenager appeared to be trying to end the relationship.
"You, on the other hand, persistently expressed a desire to meet up with her for sexual intercourse, even saying you wished to get her pregnant," Judge McIntyre said.
"At one point, somewhat oddly, you expressed a wish to adopt her and introduce her to your girlfriend and daughter.
"It is clear from the text messages that she lived in care and had several personal issues."
"It would not be an exaggeration to say that you bombarded your victim with messages even when she told you that she did not want to continue messaging because she was facing difficulties including the terminal illness of her father and fear that she might be pregnant."
"Even when your victim told you she feared she was pregnant and would have to have an abortion because she was unable to cope with a baby you suggested she ought to keep the child and continue to have unprotected sex with you."
She described McIntyre's behaviour as disgraceful, predatory and persistent.
After messages were discovered, the issue was reported to police who discovered the victim was pregnant.
The pregnancy was terminated and the DNA of the foetus showed McIntyre was the father.
Judge McIntyre refused to give the man the full 40 per cent discount for his early guilty please, describing the case against him as overwhelming.
McIntyre was sentenced to three years and nine months imprisonment with a non-parole period of one year and 11 months.
He will be eligible for parole in July 2022.*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Teen in care groomed via dating app, abused and impregnated